Bailey: Decide Dawson ought to stroll away from secret $216,000 county deal | Commentary

    It was their final Charleston County Council assembly, and Elliott Summey and Joe Dawson (each with out masks) gave one another a giant man hug. Summey, who was stepping down as chairman, handed Dawson a tiny field with a giant blue bow as “a small token of our appreciation’’ for his twenty years because the county’s legal professional.

    “We’re going to overlook you,’’ Summey mentioned earlier than giving Dawson one other huge hug. The council gave them each a standing ovation.

    It was a heat and fuzzy December evening within the chambers, one stuffed with discuss of affection and tears and honor as Summey, Dawson and Councilman Vic Rawl mentioned their goodbyes.

    Dawson, confirmed a day earlier for a lifetime job as a federal choose within the ultimate days of Donald Trump’s presidency, didn’t open his little fastidiously wrapped token, and why ought to he? He had already gotten his huge current 10 days earlier — however it was a secret, at the very least to us chumps who pay the payments.

    County authorities is a spot of the backroom deal, and the fee is greater than the hundreds of thousands of taxpayer {dollars} squandered.

    Steve Bailey mug (copy)


    Additionally it is the corrosive impact it has on the general public belief, undermining the very legitimacy of presidency itself. Our county authorities, sadly, might launch a thousand columns.

    The Put up and Courier’s David Slade unearthed the newest installment of “Because the County Turns,” reporting final Sunday that the North Charleston cabal was gifting Dawson a $216,000 payday on the way in which out the door and a taxpayer-funded lottery ticket that could possibly be value much more someday if it scores huge in litigation towards opioid makers.

    What we have now discovered, repeatedly, is that county authorities works all too nicely for insiders like Summey and Dawson — or Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday, as Summey known as the 2 of them that evening.

    Final yr, Summey leveraged his household title and council chairmanship to land a plum $290,000-a-year job working the airport. Dawson noticed his pay explode to $432,000 as a county legal professional. Charleston’s metropolis legal professional makes $170,600.

    Editorial: Charleston County's outrageous parting gift to its well-paid attorney

    And on and on it goes. The county paid former administrator Jennifer Miller $221,649 final yr in alternate for an settlement to not sue after she left — whether or not she was pushed or jumped was by no means clear. North Charleston Metropolis Councilman Jerome Heyward received as a lot as $12,000 a month for who is aware of what?

    What we all know is dangerous. What we don’t know is even scarier. Transparency shouldn’t be a part of the DNA of this bunch.

    “You’ll be able to’t inform all of our secrets and techniques,’’ Summey joked with Rawl as he mentioned goodbye to his council colleagues. The joke has at all times been at our expense.

    Hicks: Middleton wants audit of county, including that secret attorney deal

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    Dawson’s function on the county has grown over time, and he was deeply enmeshed in virtually all the pieces.

    County Council would have been higher off it had listened to his recommendation on the Naval Hospital cash pit. He helped repair the mess on the recycling heart. He has been a confidant to many.

    However because the county’s legal professional, he has additionally been an intimate a part of this tradition of backroom dealing. That features his personal profitable golden parachute. You didn’t find out about it as a result of they didn’t need you to find out about it.

    Editorial: Charleston County Council must demand audit, public explanation for $216,000 gift

    “Mr. Dawson agrees that neither he, nor anybody performing on his behalf, will disclose the phrases of this settlement to any individual or entity besides as could also be required by regulation,’’ says the doc Dawson signed Dec. 7. The county administrator signed it, too, however Summey, Pryor & Co.’s fingerprints are throughout it.

    As a federal choose, Dawson’s wage can be reduce in half. So the county deal makes him entire for 2021 by giving him $216,000 (he’s already been paid) for sharing his “institutional data and perception’’ for the following yr.

    A Charleston County consultant's contract was not renewed. Officials won't say why.

    My favourite contact: The county additionally agreed to pay Dawson 1.5% of any settlement in litigation with Purdue Pharma LP for the sale of opioids. That was by no means in his earlier county contracts.

    Gabe Roth, govt director of Repair the Court docket, which advocates for judicial reform, and College of Pittsburgh regulation Professor Arthur Hellman mentioned they’ve by no means seen an association like this for a federal choose. Each mentioned it was a foul thought.

    “It’s clearly improper,” mentioned Hellman, who makes a speciality of federal judicial ethics. “Judges aren’t purported to have second jobs.”

    Decide Dawson has a giant new day job.

    Commentary: Six months later, Elliott Summey's hiring still fails smell test

    His goodbye to his county friends of 20 years was transient however elegant: “I at all times tried to do in my coronary heart what I considered the best factor. I imagine my mom taught me that.”

    Take heed to your mother, choose. Do the best factor, and stroll away from this secret, shameless deal. That is no solution to begin a distinguished profession on the bench.

    Steve Bailey may be reached at Observe on Twitter @sjbailey1060.

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